19 November 2007

The Awful Truth

I think we all have our shameful parenting truths. I know there are things that I do that aren't necessarily the safest or sanest, and there are things I just don't care about as much as other parents. As I was driving to a friend's house this weekend, I was thinking about my shameful parenting secrets, and thought I'd lay them out there for all to see. I'm not sure why I feel compelled to do this, but I do. Feel free to contribute your own in the comments (anonymously, if you must). I'm also going to make a list of the things I care about perhaps more than I should or feel I do particularly well. It's all about balance, right?

Here goes:

Snick's Shameful Parenting Truths
1. I drive like Mario Andretti, even with my kids in the car. I drive too fast, I tailgate, and I swear at other drivers. I try not to, but then all a sudden, there I am, passing on the right at great speed.
2. In the same vein, I bought my carseats used, and I feel just fine about that. I even let my kids wear big, puffy jackets in their carseats. The seats are very well installed and secure, and I buckle the kids in tight, but I'm just not a stickler for having the newest, highest-rated, most expensive carseat.
3. I'm not rushing off to buy plastic toys from China, but the whole lead paint scare does not actually cause me that much concern.
4. As mentioned in fair number of recent posts, I yell more than I'd like to.
5. I get up at 6:15 a.m. or so. My kids get up at 7:00 a.m. At the earliest. Lots of times, they are awake before me, and lots of times they are not very happy for the last fifteen minutes or so that they wait, but I need that time in the morning and even though they are unhappy, they aren't in danger or pain or anything, so they can wait. Sometimes they have to wait until 7:15 a.m. or so while I drink some tea and catch a bit of the news. It's really better for all of us if I take the time in need in the morning.
6. When I was pregnant, I ate lots of tuna.
7. I won't tell you how often in the past few weeks the kids have eaten this for dinner: cheese pizza, peas, and banana. They like it, and I don't like fighting at dinnertime.
8. Sometimes I wish my kids liked to watch TV. I'm sure they will like it later in life, but for now they are not at all interested and there are sometimes evenings where I long to put them in front of a 30 minute video and just veg out myself.
9. I let Maddie and Riley eat whole grapes and play with small toys that are probably choking hazards. Supervised, of course, but still.
10. I keep my house really cold. Some people think kids need a warm house, but not this mama.
11. I don't feel a bit of remorse or guilt about working out of the house. I have absolutely no desire to be a full-time stay-at-home mom. It would not be a good choice for me at all.
12. When I go out for an evening sans kids, or if I'm gone or an overnight etc., I miss them and think about them, but hardly obsessively. I enjoy that time for myself, don't feel guilty about it, and don't feel "incomplete" when the twins aren't with me. It's always good to get back to them, but it's also good to get away.
13. I let a lot of "teachable moments" go right on by. Sometimes, I just don't have the energy.

Things I'm Proud Of
1. My kids eat healthy, mostly organic food. Perhaps not as varied as I'd sometimes like (see above), but I home-cook most of what they eat and they get tons of fresh fruit. I'm a little obsessed with the home-cooked kids' food.
2. Maddie and Riley are really good about going to bed. They know their routine and they love their beds. I worked hard to get that set, and it has served us well.
3. I believe in vaccination, but will only let the kids get the ones without thimerosal.
4. I talk about my emotions with the twins a lot, even the ugly ones.
5. We get out and do a lot, see a lot of friends, and go new places. We all love to be outside.
6. I try to model good behavior to them regarding exercise, eating, and taking care of the earth.
7. The twins come first. Period. When I'm getting ready to go out for a short trip, looking ahead to the weekend, or thinking about long-term life plans, my first question is always, "Will that work for Maddie and Riley? Is this a good decision for the twins?" I take care of myself, but I do that within the context of taking care of them. (Slight oxymoron given the list of shameful secrets above, but I trust you smarties in the computer to know what I mean.)

So, what are your secrets? What are your strengths? Share.

32 comments:

bg's Little Sis said...

Just catching up with you...love the list, many of mine are the same, I believe in some "me time" even it means the baby has to linger in her crib a few minutes and the older 2 have to wait a few minutes for breakfast...I need it. I share all my emotions, explain them, but yes even the ugly ones...and I drive too fast too often. My kids know some cuss words, and about skipping some "teachable moments", my son asked me what masturbation meant and I asked if he'd like more hot cocoa, that'll just have to wait...he forgot about it for now, but I had to skip it for now...gosh that sounds terrible.

Julia said...

That is your shameful list? I don't really see much there deserving of the title... Especially the bit about not being a stay at home mom (or letting them wait in the morning). It's kinda like feeling guilty for not liking milk, don't you think? Some people like it, and some don't. Some women love being SAHMs, and some like working outside the home. Whatever works.

Mine? I think that I do sometimes let her watch more TV than I should to get some veg time (or even clean the kitchen time) for myself. But I do try to make sure she is not watching crap.

laura said...

Wow. Puffy jackets. I had no idea...I do it all the time. And don't get me started on the pizza. It's my favorite. Why shouldn't it be theirs, too?

My shames:

-TV (I'm totally copying you, but it tops my list). I want them to like TV. I try so hard. I make a big deal about "let's watch Sesame Street!" and they get so excited. They pull pillows off the couch, line them up on the floor and plop their bottoms down. We sing and dance through the opening song...watch with glee for, oh, 30 seconds, and then on to something else. I want them to know the fabulous feeling of 15 minutes of pure mind-numbing absorption.

- I yell sometimes. I try hard not to, but when you have two little people climbing on top of the chair and throwing things down into the stairwell with glee, there is sometimes no other option. I try stern, serious voice first, then looking into the eyes, but sometimes it escaltes into a yell. I think it's my occasional right for the privledge of having twins. I get a freebie to loose it sometimes.

- I glow with pride when I see one, or both, of mine doing something that other kids their age can't do yet. I glower a little bit. Okay, a lot.

I'm sure there's more, but this should suffice for now ....

mlg said...

Like you I have a list of things I wish I was better at. Like you I am a single mom with a lot on my plate. I try to not feel too guilty. I am guessing all parents could make a list. When I talk to my shrink about it she calls if "shoulding all over myself." People tell me constantly what a great mom I am, even the kid. I guess my opinion is the lowest. I know I am a great mom in many ways, but I have a things I wish I did different.

I wish I spent more undistracted alone time with the kid

I wish I took her to physical therapy once a week.

I wish I arranged for more social things for her.

I wish her dad didn't live so far away from us.

I wish I didn't say "Just a minute" so much. I could get up and help her when she calls, but there is something about doing it in a minute that works better for me. It makes me feel selfish.

I am sure I could go on, but it is a lot of the same. So, instead I just go with the fact that the kid is happy and healthy. She eats well, gets enough sleep, gets a bath when needed, has most things she needs in life, doesn't have the stuff she wants but doesn't need, and is a very smart, polite, happy child.

Gillian said...

My kid isn't born yet, but I have a list of shamefuls-for-the-pregnant that I'm guilty of.

1. I eat cold cuts
2. I eat tuna, too
3. I've had (very minute amounts of) alcohol three times in my 4 month pregnancy
4. The other day during dinner at a friend's house, the friend served bleu cheese on a pizza and I didn't have the guts to ask if it was pasteurized, because I was afraid of being rude.
5. I spent the whole first trimester eating Pringles and McDonald's breakfast bagels. it's all I could stomach.
6. I also drive exceedingly fast. And swear.
7. I judge other moms I see. But silently, internally.

Good things?
1. I eat fruit and veg every day, with every meal.
2. I started exercising again, mildly.
3. I'm getting cloth diapers, and sticking to my green philosophy, even though it's hard.
4. I drink eleventy million glasses of water a day
5. I cut out caffeine, for the most part, even though no website or research I found could tell me that small amounts do anything awful.
6. I take my vitamins.

D. said...

I thought to myself "Snickollet is a super awesome mom" -- and this was half way through your post, before I got to the list of things that you are proud of! You're an inspiration, and your kids are super lucky to have you.

LauraC said...

I think you should move your #11 and #12 shames to one of your proud moments!!! Knowing yourself is something to be proud of.

My shame:
1. I cheered the day my twins finally started watching Sesame Street. I use it in small doses but those small doses are OH.. SO... NEEDED.

2. I let my boys have something sweet every day. I think it's better to do things in moderation. It was extremely embarrassing when Nate said "cookie" at his 18 month checkup.

Rachel said...

None of those seem like a big deal, except...I'd look at #1 on the first list, and #7 on the second list and think long and hard.

Mar said...

So many of my own echo yours (on both lists) that saying "me too" to each seems over the top. I will say that I too wish my young toddler watched a little TV) and I also feel no remorse for working outside the home (I dream of a flexible schedule, but that has as much to do with "me" time as it does time with my little boy). Things that I DO care about though were avoiding mercury-high fish while pregnant and driving uber-safely while someone's in his carseat. But other than that, I'm with you (but I wish I as good as you are at making time to prepare better meals for him.)

danish said...

Hi, first time commenter. Found you through Moxie. Love your blog. I am a temporarily single mother of a 20 month old boy. (My husband has been overseas working since April 1, and we are hoping he will be home mid-December)

Anyway, I found myself me-tooing a lot on your list.

I really didn't want my little guy to be sucked into the consumerism so early. My MIL has pretty much shoved Elmo down his throat and there's no going back now. I wanted tv to be a treat, a once in a while thing. If I am straightening up and he sees me pick up the white remote (the one for the dvd player), he says, Elmo? Elmo? He stands next to the tv, leaning on the couch, entranced by the Sesame Street DVDs while they are on. I wish I hadn't let him watch any in the beginning but after my husband left, I really needed a break on those long Sunday afternoon.

My confession? I am not a fast driver, but I spend way too much time talking to him and watching him in the rearview window while I am driving. I have a short commute but it is mostly stop and go. I really need to keep my eye on the road.

Anonymous said...

both your lists are what makes you an ace mum! you are conscious of meeting the twins needs and of meeting yours ....what a balanced parent, a sensible mum, cos without meeting your needs, you wouldn't be able to be a great mum!
good on you - go for it....i for one admire you greatly and think you are one amazing lady, bless you.

Anonymous said...

I took my 11 month old to the pediatrician today because I thought she had pink eye (she did). The nurse asked if she was in daycare, and I said, "yes," in an aggrieved tone--the tone was intended to imply that she is ALWAYS getting sick since she is in daycare--but the nurse assumed I meant I felt guilty for having her in daycare and said, in a kind voice, "Oh no, daycare is sometimes necessary, I know."

I don't admit this much to others, but I like working full time. I love my daughter with all my heart but if I had to stay home with her full time, or even half time, I think I would go insane. Especially because we don't have any family nearby and all my good friends work full time too.

Things I feel guilty about: our floors are always covered with dog hair (we have a lab) and my baby always has hairs stuck to her clothes and face. I will sometimes rescue one that is sticking out of her mouth--ugh.

I try to feed her homecooked meals (btw, your mac and cheese recipe is AWESOME!) but often resort to Progresso chicken soup, cold cuts (at least they're organic, but still!) and so on. Bad mom.

We kept giving her the Tylenol cold medicine even after it was recalled--until we ran out. I figured--we were dosing her correctly, and it was the only thing that helped her sleep at night. Now we've had to go through three colds with no remedy but steaming up the bathroom and elevating her crib, which has meant 2-3 hour coughing marathons. Ugh.

I think you are a great parent, and especially so regarding all the things you've been through in the past year. Less than two months left of 2007....Hang in there...

Elaine said...

I will tell a few from the kids I care for, since I have no human children of my own. Keep in mind I consider these children to be practically my own and am with them for great amounts of time, sometimes overnights. More like parenting, less like babysitting, as I find myself saying things only a mother could say. :)

1. I will often pretend to be doing dishes or cleaning to get out of playing things I don't want to play (i.e. fairies, barbies, etc.)

2. I ALWAYS make them take out the trash, and sometimes rather than do it, I will just open up a new bag and set it next to the trash.

3. I definitely put on videos or turn on Disney in order to lie down myself

4. I kill time by going to Starbucks with the five-year-old. I sit as long as possible and enjoy my coffee while she looks at stuff in the store.

There's probably more. I have to say, none of these things bothers me too much. I consider myself an excellent care giver and I am worth every penny to the woman I work for. I love these children as though they were my own. No one is perfect and we all need some "me" time. It makes us better mommies, better care givers.

Thanks for sharing your list, and allowing us all to air our faults!

Arwen said...

I think # 10 should also be a proud moment! Warm (hot) houses in the winter and cold houses in the summer didn't exist until, honestly, the last century. People survived many years without it. Most people can't believe it when I tell them that the US government recommends 68 degrees during waking (at home hours) and 62 at night (and 60 while at work).
You are a great mom, how you do so much without someone there all the time is a mystery to me.

I don't feel guilt that I have to work but I do get very VERY p/o'd when SAHMs tell me that everyone can stay home if they just "cut back". I want to scream at them. My DH could stay home if we just "cut back", I can't.

I also judge other moms in my head.

ellen said...

Actually, I believe that it's healthier to keep the house a little cool than to overheat it. Good on that.

Getting in a car accident would be unhealthy, at best, though...

Amber said...

My shames:

1. I yell.
2. I cuss, although I try not do so very often, and I use such lapses at teaching moments. "Mommy said a bad word. That's not very nice. . . "
3. Each time I was pregnant and on hospital bedrest, I felt sorry for myself and cried, even though I should have only been worrying about my babies. I hated being on bedrest, especially in the hospital, and by the second or third month, I questioned my sanity.
4. I let me kids eat fast food once a week.
5. Although I never express my opinions out loud and always try to be open-minded, I am secretly aghast when I see other parents do certain things.
and biggest of all:
6. I'm so tired and stressed out some of the time that I don't fully enjoy moments. I have to remind myself to mentally slow down and savor the time helping with homework and preparing lunches.

What I am proud of:
1. My kids spend very little time playing video games (only v-smile), are rarely tv zombies, and love to read. We spend most of our non-work time together as a family, doing martial arts, going to the library, etc.
2. Both my husband and I try to always think about what is best for my kids when making decisions.
3. The whole family bed/child-led weaning/baby in a sling thing has worked out well for us. My preemies grew big and strong and healthy. My kids are confident and happy, without any attachment issues.

Even thinking about the positive things, I still feel guilty most of the time.

B.E.C.K. said...

Oh, you're doing great! :-) My shameful list would go on for pages, I'm sure. Some highlights: I swear a lot and prohibit my son from swearing; I figure I've earned the right, although I probably should watch my mouth more. I almost never cook, but I do microwave or boil. I clean house rarely. I buy treats and eat them myself instead of sharing with my kid; sometimes I buy treats for my kid and then I eat those, too.

On the plus side, I listen to him tell me all his stories about school and his thoughts. I laugh at his jokes without fail. I hug him about 25 times a day (literally) or more. I play video games with him. I help him with his homework. I answer all his questions, no matter how uncomfortable they make me. ;^)

Chickenpig said...

I don't get out of the house enough with the twins. I know they are getting stir crazy, and that they are starving for interaction with anyone, but for weeks now the weather has been awful, or whatever, and they're bored.

I don't plan enough learning activities with them. I worked in pre school once upon a time, so I know a lot of the things I could, or should, be doing with them to enrich them, but most of the time they are just playing with their toys. I feel guilty because I taught other ppls kids better than I teach my own...at least regularly.

I have never been concerned about them when they sleep. When they are asleep, I let them sleep. I don't hover, or worry, or check on them. I never woke up in the middle of the night because they were quiet, I just thought "Thank god they're sleeping".

I worry that one of my twins isn't talking well enough. I know I should stick to my guns about everything he wants and make him speak for it, but with two I just tend to give him more juice when his brother asks and etc.

buddha_girl said...

1. I ate seafood, including tuna, when I was pregnant.
2. I ate cold cuts - especially pastrami and corned beef from a local deli- when I was pregnant.
3. I attempted to breast feed because I knew I'd lose weight. I wasn't worried about breast milk vs formula.

4. I let my kid sleep on the couch.

5. I savor my alone time.

6. I curse in front of my kid. Not at him. Just around him. I've had to put myself in time out more than once for cursing my ass off.

7. I drive like a mother fucker with him in the car.

The list could go on, but I'm too damn tired and don't want to hijack your post.

Excellent job, Snick.

Trenches of Mommyhood said...

Ditto on 3,4,9,11,12,13.

Great idea for a post. I may copy you!

Jana said...

I have to admit to being very, very jealous of #2 on your "proud" list. All the things I'm ashamed of as a parent happen because Charlotte doesn't go to sleep well. I yell, but even worse...I hiss (Ugh. It even sounds ugly to type it) at 4 in the morning when I'm up for the fifth time and she just won't close her eyes and sleep. And I feel ever so guilty that I have fostered and encouraged habits that make Charlotte rely on me to fall asleep. Boo.

Oh, I also feel guilty for using disposables and occasionally buying stuff at Wal-Mart. There. I feel better.

GeePatty said...

Hi There! I have been reading you a lot since we are in similar situations.

I am ashamed that I:

1. Don't force my 3 year old to brush his teeth every night. It is a battle.

2. I let my 10 week old sleep in his swing- A LOT! Almost everynight, the entire night.

3. I use the TV as a babysitter- especially when I am a zombie and need some sleep. I want the newborn to start watching TV so that I can get even more sleep.

4. I should talk more with my 3 year old.

5. I should go do things with the 3 year old- but am just too tired and overwhelmed right now.

6. We eat crap.

7. I listen to music that has a lot of swearing in it.

Things I am proud of:

1. I teach and enforce manners with my 3 year old.

2. I cuddle and hold the newborn as much as he wants.

3. I am trying my best.

There is probably more but I am just too damn tired! (Oh, and I swear...A LOT!)

Lisa said...

I have a lot of the same ones. Not only did I buy used car seats, but when the hospital held my preemies hostage until I got the one approved for their size, I took them back to the store after we used them one time. I just stuffed towels and things around the used ones so they would fit better.

What else, I have a bad cussing habit that I keep meaning to cure myself of, but I really haven't tried that hard. I swear in front of the kids.
When my kids were caged, I mean cribbed, I would let them hang for a bit while I got up. Can't do that very well anymore.
I am perfectly happy to let the kids stay with a babysitter. I'm glad to see them when I come home, but still--I am outta there.
I'm fine with you working if you are fine with me mostly staying home. I don't want to be a working mom. There, I said it. I like to do some work and non kid projects and hang with adults, but I want it to be on MY terms. I don't want to work all day. I admire people who can work all day long and then do the kid thing. Me? I will if I have to, but I don't wanna.
I have times when I try to catch up on sleep and I put my kids in front of the TV and veg/sleep on the couch for like 2 to 3 hours. Not too often, but every now and then.
Oh, I don't pay too much attention to the reccomended ages on toys, and I let them eat grapes, too.
Oh, there is probably a ton more but that's enough for now. I'm writing this while my kid is waiting for me to help him with something, so there is another one.

Larissa said...

Secret shames: We almost never brush our 2 year old's teeth (he gets some at daycare, but still); I swear in front of him all the time; I'm 7 months pregnant and have eaten fast food at least once a week my whole pregnancy, plus the rest of my diet isn't so hotshit either. Those are the biggies. Things I'm most proud of: we are super consistent with discipline and though he has always been a pretty easy kid, I am positive that good habits set now are going to pay off down the road; he's got a good bedtime routine and bedtime is a joy, not a struggle; he eats fruits and veggies (happily!) every day; he plays outside for good stretches every day (almost); despite being a full-time (plus some) working mom (which I wish I could change, but I can't), I give my son loads of time and love every evening and on weekends, and I know he is thriving in his daycare. I'm also glad he doesn't watch TV/videos/whatever, except for catching bits of the news or sports that we're watching. Guess we're lucky that he is good at entertaining himself so we can veg out at times without having to do the TV thing.

mlg said...

Two things I want to add:

I curse like a sailor. The kid being in my space does not make me think before I speak. I don't think it is a bad thing.

I took 2 pregnancy tests that were negative before booking a christmas trip to Paris to visit friends. We would not have gone if it was positive. I drank the whole time I was there, sometimes to the point of a merry christmas buzz. The last day we were in versailles I couldn't figure out why I just couldn't keep up with my friends. We got back on New Year's Eve day and the test was positive. Also (because it was 13 years ago) I ate tuna and blue cheese and everything that moms now avoid. Including a ton of Taco Bell, the food of choice for my fetus.

My kid is in the Gate program at School and very happy and well adjusted so I would say no permanent damage was done.

kim said...

I wouldn't be able to operate without #5; as long as I know that Em's safe in her crib, I'm fine with hitting the snooze button one more time. Now that we're getting ready to move her into a big girl bed, I'm starting to get worried!

Lara said...

I put my kids to sleep on their stomachs. It was the only way they'd sleep a reasonable amount of time, and I needed them to sleep. I didn't even worry that much about SIDS.

I also took the younger two into bed with me, and I'd fall asleep breastfeeding them so they just slept in our bed between me & the hubby. I occasionally worried they might get rolled onto, but normally I was so tired I just fell asleep and didn't think about it.

Amy said...

Oh, man, you all have made me feel so much better. I let my twins babble and whine a little in their cribs if I'm not ready to get them, and I would feel horribly guilty about it, but now I feel SO MUCH BETTER! (I keep reciting this mantra in my head: The worst they can do is cry, for Pete's Sake.) As far as things I feel guilty about: my little ones are still too little to be interested in TV - they are only 8 months - but I have the TV on all the time. It's more for background noise for me, but still, I'd like to turn it off more. Also, I'm supposed to be putting baby oil in Charlotte's hair to treat cradle cap, but I can never remember! So her cradle cap hasn't gone away yet! (And, there's the fact that it's really not that noticeable, so I forget that she has it). Gavin gets physical therapy for some increased muscle tone, and I'm supposed to be stretching and massaging him daily, but I just don't. I'm too busy!

Yankee T said...

You're cool.

NanarocksWeen said...

Snick,

I think you're right on with sharing your feelings with your kids from the get-go. My mother never talked about her feelings (I'm 59, so this was long ago), so neither I, nor my siblings, feel like we really KNEW Mom. Thus, my grown daughters (who are around your age) KNOW me - warts and all. And we are extremely close... they feel they can tell me anything. I think our relationship is much better than the one I had with my mother. From what I've read on your blog, I think you're amazing.
Keep up the good mothering - and always make sure there's time, precious TIME, for Snickollet too.

Neva4getme said...

Wow, I feel so much better as a Mom! lol Here are a few things I feel guilty about:

1. Some days I watch the clock like a hawk counting down the minutes until bedtime. Luckily we have a very well established bedtime and a sleep through the nighter. Bring on Mommy time!

2. My kid eats cereal for breakfast 6/7 days a week. It's easy, she loves it...I do have a variety of cereals available though, to mix it up lol. Oh and that 7th day? Grandma and Grandpa's morning with her lol.

3. I never remember to bring a diaper bag with us...I swear there's only been one poop!

4. I never finished her baby book.

5. I want her to be bilingual and vowed to speak only French to her but haven't been able to. It's not my first language and it's akward! I'm banking on the fact that there are immersion programs and "time".

What I'm proud of:

1. Every minute I spend with her I do, interracting and learning. Even if it means I'm lying on the couch and getting her to "fetch" everything lol (hey, I'm in my first trimester ok?).

2. She's 16 months old and can say every word she's given, including medicine, elephant, aligator etc. She says "bless you" when you sneeze. She says "Thank You" "Your Welcome" and "Please" when it's required. She can say more than one 3 word sentance including "I love you". Of course try getting her to say it in front of a stranger and well, I look like a liar, but that shows good attachment right?

Leggy/Clover said...

Hey- just catching up on your last 30 posts or so (because I'm hopelessly behind with the move and lack of wireless at the new house, etc.). Great post on grieving- good tips.

Can you write a post on how in the heck you got twins on a decent sleeping schedule? Cause I'm dying here.